From Alpine hikes to circular lake trails, Switzerland has it all when it comes to the outdoors! Research shows that spending time outside in nature can lead to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improve mental and physical health overall. Here in Switzerland, the outdoors is a huge part of Swiss culture and identity, so knowing about some of the best trails in the country will allow you to take full advantage of all this place has to offer and spend more time in the beautiful surrounding nature!
Here at Leysin American School, we place great emphasis on the importance of outdoor education. We are so lucky to be situated within such a beautiful landscape, and we always encourage our students to engage with and appreciate their natural surroundings. This includes learning in the outdoors and taking part in outdoor pursuits. In turn, this makes young people more likely to care about the world around them and spend more time surrounded by nature.
The following list details five of our favorite hikes in Switzerland that should definitely be on your bucket list:
- The Zermatt Five-Lake Trail
This incredible hiking trail takes you through the beautiful area of Zermatt, where you can see the Matterhorn (better known as Toblerone Mountain) towering above! This breathtaking area offers diverse hiking trails and is one to tick off your bucket list for the views. Télécabines and mountain railways can take hikers to various trails and make hiking more accessible to everyone! This trail takes only 2.5 hours and gives hikers a stunning snippet of this world-renowned area.
Taking approximately 5 hours, the hike to Gemmipass is a bit more challenging. This historic pass from Leukerbad into the Bernese Oberland can be described as a classic and breathtaking hike. At the top, the upper station sits with a restaurant and incredible views of the rocky peaks of the Gemmi region. And, to top it all off, there’s a télécabine that you can take up or down if you’re not feeling super adventurous, and thermal baths in the town at the base of the mountain to relax after a tough day of climbing!
- Leysin - Berneuse
Situated in the French-speaking canton of Vaud, Leysin is a quaint mountain village situated at 1,260 meters. A ski town in winter and hiking hotspot in summer, this area offers a range of pretty hikes with incredible landscapes, including, views of Mont Blanc and the Eiger. This hike can be done by walking up the mountain and taking the télécabine down or vice versa, and is excellent for hikers of varying abilities, even if you’re not an experienced outdoor expeditioner. What’s more, you can even enjoy a cold drink or lunch at Le Kuklos, a revolving restaurant at the top of the Berneuse mountain!
- Schynige Platte Ridge Trail
The base of this stunning trail takes only 30 minutes to walk from Interlaken! This hike begins with a scenic train ride that takes you to the top of the ridge, where you have many different hiking trail options. This train has been in service for 120 years and provides views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. The Schynige Platte Ridge sits at 2000 meters and includes views of mountains and lakes! On this hike, you can expect a long day of walking and nearly 1000 meters of elevation gain, so bring some good walking shoes and lots of water!
- Dents du Midi
Located in the Chablais region, Dents du Midi is an adventure best suited to more experienced hikers! You can do this hike over the course of two days, and it’s best to complete this between June-October. However, some have been able to complete it in one day, without stopping overnight at a mountain hut. The hike is 42.5 kilometers long, and the difficulty can vary based on your fitness levels and acclimatization. Here at Leysin American School in Switzerland, we take students on this hike every year. Although it’s difficult, it allows our students to bond and experience the beauty of the Swiss Alps! Make sure you plan this hike well in advance and prepare to see some amazing Swiss scenery (and even wildlife too!).